You Are What You Eat: How Your Diet Affects Hard Skin

We all know that eating right (or wrong ) impacts your health. But many people do not realise that diet also impacts our feet. It is not silly when you think about it. Your feet are connected to the rest of your body, and what you eat nourishes your entire body. In this article, Scholl looks at how eating right can help in getting rid of hard skin on your feet, and lead to  better foot care in general.

Vitamin A

Having sufficient vitamin A is very important for healthy skin. It contributes to cell growth and repair of skin cells. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to dry, hard skin.[1]

How can I get more vitamin A?

  • Vitamin A can be found in vegetables and fruits such as carrots, egg yolks, peas, kale, spinach, pumpkins, and oranges. Liver is also a good source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is often added to fortified juices and cereals, as well as in multivitamins.[2]


Calcium and vitamin D

Keeping your bone healthy is another vital part of foot care. Since a large part of your feet is bone, having enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet is essential to foot care. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium. If you do not get enough calcium and vitamin D, you have an increased chance of having thin and brittle bones (osteoporosis) in later life. Osteoporosis can cause serious injuries, so this is why it is important to keep your bones strong as you get older. Another consequence of not getting enough calcium is that your muscles in your foot can cramp, hurt or feel weak. [3]

Aside from the fact that  calcium and vitamin D is good for the bones, it also helps to having  a healthy skin. Calcium in the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin), helps in the regulation of the body on how it generates new skin cells and sheds off old skin cells to be replaced. The appearance of fragile, thin, dry and hard skin on your feet may likely be a result of insufficient calcium stored in the epidermis. The skin may appear like this because of the lack of calcium in the body to spur new growth or to let go of dead skin cells.[4]

How can I get more calcium and vitamin D?

  • Calcium is in foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt.[5] Yogurt often has high quantities of both calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is also found in vegetables like broccoli and kale, canned sardines and salmon, and in foods which have added calcium such as cereals, juices, soy drinks and tofu. Checking the label will show you how much calcium was added.[6]
  • Vitamin D is found in fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines. It is also in other foods like egg yolks and beef liver (although in smaller amounts).[7]


Omega 3 fats

A major problem linked to nutrition that can affect your feet is inflammation. This can cause plantar fasciitis, (commonly known as jogger’s heel) in your foot. This can be a very painful condition if left untreated. Many foods can contribute to inflammation, such as the saturated fat found in red meat and the omega-6 fats found in commonly used vegetable oils, such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oils.[8]

How can I get more Omega-3s?

  • Fish, particularly salmon, are excellent sources of omega-3 fats. Although most people’s diets consist of far more omega-6s than omega-3s, a diet rich in fish can help address this imbalance.[9]It is recommended to eat fish high in omega-3 fats two to three times a week.[10]
  • Plants can also contain omega-3, and these include walnuts, hemp seeds, pecans, and hazelnuts.[11]

Another problem that can adversely affect your feet is obesity. To put it simply, the more you weigh, the heavier your feet have to carry. Maintaining a diet low in fat and exercising regularly can help you to keep a healthy weight and reduce the risk of developing these problems.[12]